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Brian Park Bae

VCE Music Performance
Mr Norm Grimmett

Technical Work

Name of Piece: Rumanian Folk Dances (1915)

Composer: Bla Bartk (1881-1945)
Style: Late Romantic
Individual Performance Techniques:

Accents/Sforzando (found mainly on the first beat at the start of a bar)
Arco to Pizz transition (& vice versa)
Chords (two strings, three strings & four strings)
Artificial Harmonics
Natural Harmonics

Performance Techniques That Are a Challenge to Me:

Arco to Pizz transition (& vice versa)
Chords (two strings & three strings)
Artificial Harmonics
Bow Strokes: Spiccato/Staccato, Tenuto/Martel & Slurs (legato)
Technical Challenge No.1: Arco to Pizz transition (& vice versa)
Exercise: 8C from the AMEB Violin Technical Workbook.
Pizzicato is a technique that is easily overlooked. Sometimes there is not a lot of time to go from using the bow (arco) to
plucking the string (pizzicato) and vice versa. This exercise focuses on the adjustment of the bow hold when moving rapidly
from arco to pizz. To be able to move between arco and pizz smoothly and quickly, I must pivot the bow up to the first finger
to above the second joint while supporting it with the other three fingers and the thumb so the first finger can extend and play
pizz without the bow touching the string and then quickly reverse the process. A technique like is also essential in orchestra
playing and virtuoso repertoire.

Technical Challenge No.2: Chords (two strings & three strings)

Exercise: 6C from the AMEB Violin Technical Workbook
The main problem with playing chords on the violin involve the contortion of fingers to put them in the right position,
applying enough pressure on the string to produce a proper solid sound and their limitation of fingerings. Due to the finger
position/s required, tritones and perfect fifths are especially awkward to play in tune as a finger has to be places across two
strings simultaneously. The sometimes odd placement of fingers cause pitch problems and therefore it is essential to listen out
carefully for the bottom note (bass note) and tune the top (and middle) notes accordingly (assuming that the bass note is in
tune). Rumanian Dances with punctuated chordal accents and therefore it is essential to provide an even, solid tonality that
has enough strength to stand out in the music. The piece mainly contains sixths chords with the occasional arpeggio chords

Technical Challenge No.3: Artificial Harmonics

Artificial harmonics require a consistent finger shape and hand frame. The span between the stopped finger and the harmonic
finger is different for every position, so playing with accuracy requires a lot of practice. It is essential to therefore practice
them in scales first as the tuning of the base note is crucial to allow the harmonic to be played. Obtaining a clear tone from
the harmonic requires playing a fairly heavy but quick bow stroke while keeping close to the bridge with the end purpose
being to sound like a pan flute (shepherds flute).

Artificial Harmonics Continued..

Exercise: Preparatory Excercises op. 9 no. 58 (Otakar Sevck) (Artificial Harmonics in a melodic context)

Expressive Challenge No. 1: Transition between Spiccato/Staccato, Tenuto/Martel & Slurs (legato)
Exercise: 7D from the AMEB Violin Technical Workbook (sautill played as spiccato)
Bow strokes are a thing taken for granted but is important for articulation in music. Stylistic interpretations are brought out
through the articulation of a piece and so it is crucial for the different bow strokes to be differentiated. Staccato and martel
should begin with firm contact between the bow and string to give a clean bite followed by a release of pressure as the bow
moves. Martel specifically should have a stable attack followed by a swift, clean stroke. With spiccato, you need to be aware
of the changing bowarm level due to string crossings and keep the shoulder free of tension. The bow must bounce just above
the middle to allow a stable bounce that is controllable. When playing slurs it is important to be careful about how much of
the bow you use when playing the slur. A common mistake is to use most if the bow on the first one or two notes and cram
the rest in. Musically, this sounds rushed and does not provide an evenness of tone. When you have lots that need to be
slurred in one bow, I need to make sure to use the whole now and begin at the very edge of the bow hair.

Stylistic Challenges
Throughout the movement, the composers intention is to represent the sound of the pan flute which is clear and
airy. The third one is frequently played much too slow, but having heard the original folk tune played on the
Hungarian shepherd's flute, it has a real liveliness and dance quality to it which is frequently missing.
Preparatory Excercises op. 9 no. 58 (Otakar Sevck)
Each movement has a distinct style to it and brings contrast to the whole piece in general. Exercise 7C
additionally deals with a common rhythm found in the folk music that Bartok got his inspiration from.